|Harden is ready to be a star. (US Presswire)|
Houston, we have a beard.
(I know, so bad.)
James Harden made his first comments as a Houston Rocket Sunday at an open practice and while it was brief, he sorted a few things out already.
One, he intends to sign with the Rockets. And two, he's ready to be a star. Via Rockets.com:
"Yes, I am," Harden said when asked if he can be an alpha dog. "It's going to take some time. Not starting, not having attention on me, but I think I'm ready.”
Talks with the Thunder broke down over the weekend after Harden wouldn't agree to a reported $55 million offer from Oklahoma City. He wanted a max deal, something the Thunder weren't willing to give. The Rockets though are expected to extend him a full five-year, $80 million offer, something Harden is then expected to accept.
"Yes. Yes I do," Harden said when asked if he thought it would be done before Wednesday's deadline. "I'll let them figure that out with my agent. My focus right now is Houston and how I can make them better. I feel like I can help build it and bring my talents over here.
“Just to be secure," Harden said. "I feel like I'm in a great position with a great team and great young guys that are willing to work hard. So it will work itself out."
There hasn't been too much drama surrounding Harden, but as the Oct. 31st deadline approach, things heated up. With the Thunder unwilling to sign him to a max, they didn't want him to walk for nothing. So they found a partner in the Rockets who were more than happy to accommodate OKC, exchanging Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb and picks for Harden, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Hayward.
Another adjustment Harden is facing though: He's stepped down from a likely title contender to a team in rebuild mode.
“It's definitely different, but it's something that we have to learn to deal with,” he said. “This is a business and everything happens for a reason. I'm just going to try to play hard and win games.”